There are many types of self-injury. We have generally seen more mild types of self-injuries at Bill Jacobs LPCC, but the causal dynamics are essentially the same for both mild and severe. Even a mild form of self-injury usually indicates a need to process feelings.
Here is a list forming a spectrum from less to more destructive types of self-injury, from an article by Denise Styer in the Prevention Researcher.
- Scratching: with fingernails, razor blades, or other hard objects.
- Picking: continually picking scabs, pimples or a specific spot until the skin is broken.
- Rubbing: using a finger, pencil eraser to cause a burn the skin.
- Cutting: ranges from superficial slices or cuts on the skin that do not require medical attention to deeper cuts that require stitches.
- Carving: using a knife to carve names or words into the skin.
- Burning: ranges from rubbing the skin with a pencil erase to using cigarettes or lighters or, in extreme cases, a blowtorch.
- Electrocuting: sometimes using jumper cables to a car battery.
- Ingesting: swallowing pins, paper clips, razor blades or caustics like toilet bowl cleaner.
- Breaking Bones: ranges from breaking knuckles by hitting a wall,to using a hammer to break bones, to intentionally falling down stairs for jumping out of windows.